Size: 3,560 acres
Location: Colfax County
Eco-Region: Southern Rocky Mountains
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: April, 2016
This property consists of 3,560 acres that is part of a larger 5,710 acre ranch located approximately 15 miles east of Raton, in northeast New Mexico, near the Colorado border. A portion of the property sits atop Johnson Mesa and consists of native grassland. Mesa Ranch is being managed for cattle grazing and the landowner is committed to sustainable agricultural practices to protect the health of the rangeland into the future. Much of the area under conservation easement lies within Taylor Canyon, below Johnson Mesa. The canyon vegetation is characterized by Gambel oak, piñon-juniper, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir. Cottonwoods and willows are present along the perennial Una de Gato Creek. This creek is fed by several springs located on the property, the largest of which is Dale Springs. Large mammal species including elk, pronghorn antelope, coyote, bear, deer, and mountain lion are present in Taylor Canyon. Two of three phases are complete on the ranch, the first one donated in 2013, the second phase purchased through the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and the third phase, another 1,425 acres, is currently in the works. This expansive and laborious effort on the part of landowner has ensured such a beautiful ranch will remain in traditional agriculture while protecting key conservation values on Johnson Mesa and in Taylor Canyon.